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Incorporating a mouthwash rinse before or after brushing and flossing your teeth can help you in your fight against dental caries and gingivitis, as well as bad breath (halitosis). Just be sure to decide what health issue you would like to address and then choose the right oral rinse to do the job.

Mouthwashes Available over the Counter

— Antibacterial rinses kill the bacteria that actually causes bad breath.
— Antiseptic mouthwashes kill bacteria along with viruses, and fungi, but they also contain alcohol which can dry out the mouth.
— Fluoride rinses prevent cavities while protecting and strengthening tooth enamel.
— Cosmetic mouthwashes help your breath smell fresh and make your teeth feel clean.

When you choose to use it, whether it be before or after you brush and floss, is not important. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) found that either method works and does the job just fine. The trick to using a mouthwash correctly is to make sure you rinse long enough for it to work. It is recommended that you leave it in the mouth anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds; any less than that and you won’t reap the benefits. Also, choose a mouthwash which carries the ADA Seal of Approval on the product packaging. For you the consumer this ensures that it is safe to use and effective–doing exactly what it says it will.

How to Correctly Use Your Mouthwash

First, read and follow all manufacturer directions to make sure you reap the benefits. Then, pour the correct amount into your mouth using the cup that comes with the product or a small cup. Next, close your mouth to create a seal to prevent it from spilling out when you swish it around in your mouth. Swish vigorously back and forth for about 30-60 seconds, swishing front and the back of your teeth, including the molars, under the tongue, and the roof of the mouth.

Don’t forget to gargle to kill any germs hiding at the back of the mouth. You can gargle with the solution still in the mouth, or rinse and gargle with a fresh amount for another 30-60 seconds. To gargle, place mouthwash into your mouth and take a deep breath. Tilt your head back as far as it will go and open your mouth. Say “ahhhh” slowly, and when you run out of air, tilt your head back to its normal position and take another breath. Repeat, then spit.

If you choose not to rinse the mouthwash afterwards with water, it is best not to drink anything for at least ten minutes. If you are using a hydrogen peroxide rinse or mouthwash that has a high alcohol content, do rinse with after using, as these can irritate and dry out your mouth.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call our dental team at 435.723.6120 today!